LOS ANGELES (BRAIN) — Torch Apparel launched a bike helmet with integrated LED lights on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter.com two years ago. With pre-orders from Kickstarter supporters now filled, the company is looking to the dealer market for its future.
"We're happy we can move into the retail market now; a lot of people have told us they want to try on our helmets before buying, so the stores are really where we need to be," said Nathan Wills, Torch Apparel's founder and CEO.
The company raised about $68,000 through its Kickstarter campaign. It also had about $20,000 in pre-orders. It's taken until just recently to fulfill all the orders, Wills said.
"We've spent every penny we had getting the product made and getting it to us. Now the focus changes," he said. A shipment of helmets is now on its way to the company's Los Angeles warehouse. "We officially have in-stock inventory for the first time."
A former auto designer, Wills was inspired to make the Torch helmet after noticing that riders can be nearly invisible on the roads at night and realizing that the rider, not the bike, has the biggest surface area. So the Torch helmet has large lit areas on the front and rear that can be controlled independently. The lights have a battery run time of up to 12 hours; the battery can be recharged with a USB cable. The LEDs, which can each be set to flash or steady, are behind lenses so the helmet surface looks smooth.
The $140 helmets are available in two sizes and in red, white or black. The black is also available with a tinted lens over the light, to make it less conspicuous during the day, for an additional $10.
Wills said dealers had been inquiring about stocking the helmets, but all the first production had to go to fulfilling the Kickstarter pre-orders. Now Torch is selling dealer direct in the U.S. and has a distributor in the U.K. that handles the European market.
More information: www.torchapparel.com.